The College of Medicine at Qatar University (CMED-QU) —the country’s national medical college offers an education that is aligned with international standards and yet specifically designed and contextualised for the needs of practising medicine in Qatar, region and globally.
Through a unique curriculum CMED aims at concentrating on competencies rather than just knowledge.
“When we talk about competency we are not only talking about the knowledge, but we are talking about knowledge , skills, attitudes, the communication skills, team work, ethics, professionalism and medical expertise. All these issues are considered and it has to start very early,” said Professor Hossam Hamdy, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, CMED-QU.
The college has adopted a problem-based learning (PBL)curriculum and a case-based teaching method. PBL incorporates six characteristics: use of medical cases as the starting point for learning, small-group collaboration, flexible guidance of a tutor, student initiated learning, a focus on self-guided learning and limited number of lecture-style sessions.
Although most medical schools today utilise some form of case-based teaching, CMED’s use of PBL methodologies is somewhat unique in terms of the degree of emphasis placed on small-group teaching, faculty-facilitated sessions, and student-directed learning that is focused around the careful study of each case using a holistic approach that considers the patients, their families, and their communities. “Several medical colleges in the UK, US, Australia, and the Arab region have adopted the PBL curriculum and CMED has become pioneer in Qatar in implementing this study method,” said Prof Hamdy.
The students’ dialogue in the PBL cases ensures patient-centeredness while the students are learning about relevant organ systems, biological sciences, clinical sciences, patient communication, and professionalism which are contextualised in Qatar-specific PBL cases. In PBL, students use ‘triggers’ such as ‘I have a breathing difficulty’ from the problem case or scenario they define their own learning objectives. Subsequently, they do independent, self directed study before returning to the group to discuss and refine their acquired knowledge.
“PBL is not about problem solving, but rather it uses appropriate problems to gain not only knowledge but how to work in teams and collaborate,” said Prof Hamdy.
Also in line with CMED’s teaching philosophy which adopts a patient-centred educational method promoting patients as the focus of the educational process students get early clinical placements.
This means maintaining an awareness and sensitivity to the impact of a patient’s life, gender, age, culture, religion, socioeconomic background, health care beliefs and other personal specificities and how they may have an impact on their health or illness.
Patient-centred care also advocates shared decision-making principles into the physician’s practice and emphasises the importance of non-biological determinants of health or illness including the economic, psychological, social, and cultural factors that contribute to it. At CMED, students are given a chance to meet patients and get exposed to clinical environment and real patients . The placements for students from the second to the fourth year of the medical programme will mostly take place in Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) centres, while clinical training as of the fourth year will involve secondary and tertiary care and will take place mostly at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) hospitals.
“Students visit health centres once a week as part of the competency-based curriculum. Students in the first year of the medical programme visit health centres every week and gain practical based knowledge and experience. They get exposed to real life situations at an early stage of medical education,” said Prof Hamdy.
“At a clinical skill lab with many simulations where students are trained using simulators and simulating patients, students are trained here before they go to health centers,” he said.
CMED will also soon introduce a virtual patient learning system, which is an interactive computer simulation used in health care education.
“Virtual patients allow the learner to take the role of a health care professional and develop clinical reasoning skills diagnoses and therapeutic decisions,” said Prof Hamdy.
At present CMED has nearly 100 first-year and 47 second-year students. Among them between 50 and 60 percent are Qatari students. The 13 member faculty are highly experienced in medical education and researches conducting several research projects.
CMED is the eighth college of Qatar University and was founded in October 2014. It admitted the first cohort of students in Fall 2015. The college aims to make contributions to medical education, patient care, medical research and community outreach. It is fully aligned with Qatar’s national strategies in education and health, as well as Qatar University’s strategic plan.
A student focused, culturally sensitive and supportive learning environment.
An international standard, patient-centred, problem-based-learning curriculum.
Close and organic integration with the Qatari healthcare sector, with numerous opportunities for scholarly work and development of research skills.
Exposure to and training in the clinical/hospital environment begins from the first year in close collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation, the national and largest healthcare provider in Qatar, as well as leading private healthcare providers.
Students learn in small groups that emphasise teamwork, leadership and communication skills.
Students will spend the last two and a half years of the six-year MD programme training at one of the key hospitals or healthcare centres, learning one-to-one from experienced physicians and academic mentors.
By graduation, students will have a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of the specific healthcare challenges and opportunities in Qatar.
Full alignment with international quality standards to prepare students for internationally accepted medical licensing exams.
Research-guided scholarly methods and focus on lifelong-learning ensure the skills and knowledge of graduates are continuously developing and consistently aligned with the latest medical practice standards and innovations.
Collaboration across established QU programmes and access to QU’s broad range of courses, cutting-edge facilities and student services.
Focus on strong leadership and Arabic communication skills uniquely position graduates to become leaders in transforming healthcare in Qatar.
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